China Landslide Kills 128, Hopes Fade for Missing (Updated)

The death toll from the landslide in Linfen, which was caused by a pile of illegally-maintained iron ore waste, is now 128 and expected to rise. From AP:

Two thousand rescuers shoveled and hammered through the debris Wednesday searching for those buried under the three-story wave of mud and mining waste that inundated a valley in Shanxi province’s Xiangfen county Monday. State media put the official death toll at 128 people with 34 more injured.

Authorities have declined to provide a figure for the number of missing people, saying an investigation is ongoing.

But the Shanghai Morning Post reported that hundreds may have been buried in the mud. The paper said the landslide occurred in the morning just as business at a busy outdoor market was getting under way with shoppers haggling at roadside stalls for food and daily necessities.

Update: Read also a Reuters report about the angry reactions of relatives of the victims:

Dozens of friends and relatives hoping for news of people feared trapped were kept away from the site by police, and some accused officials of cold-hearted incompetence.

“It’s not because of the rain. It wasn’t a natural disaster, it was man-made,” said a migrant worker surnamed Zhang, who said his friend was probably killed.

“Whole families have gone. So many are dead. Why aren’t you digging out our relatives?” a middle-aged woman, Zheng Xiongmei, screamed at a local official.

September 10, 2008 10:36 AM
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